Yidan Zhang



yidan zhang




Yidan Zhang

DPhil candidate, School of Archaeology



I am a DPhil candidate at the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford. I completed my BA in Antiquities and Museology at Minzu University of China. I then entered the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as a top 1 candidate, exempt from the postgraduate entrance examination. There I obtained an MA in Archaeology. 

I am interested in archaeology and interregional cultural communication in western China. Through the study of Bronze Age archaeological artefacts, I explore the evidence for interregional cultural exchange. My BA and MA theses were based on this research.

DPhil topic

Across the east rim of the Tibetan Plateau, archaeological materials from sites dating from the Late Neolithic Age show evidence of both frequent culture contact and distinct regional characteristics. During this period, many new phenomena occurred, such as the spread of painted pottery in various regions. Later, this region has witnessed the emergence of bronze smelting and casting and the flourishing of bronze-bearing culture. Around 3,000 BC, painted pottery spread from Gansu to the Western Sichuan Plateau川西高原. By the second millennium BC, bronze culture spread along the east rim of Tibetan Plateau. All these phenomena happened over various regions that nevertheless retained distinct cultural characteristics.  

My DPhil project, supervised by Professor Anke Hein, explores how regions so different, both in natural environment and cultural characteristics, came to be connected by shared cultural phenomena and object types. This work’s specific focus is the role of humans as well as the importance of local environments in these processes. This project tries to further explore the cultural contact and human-environment interaction that occurred along the east rim of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the late Neolithic Age through spatial analysis and network analysis.